Effective Document Control For Compliance, Quality Control and Safety

Chris Nahil
By Chris Nahil on August 3, 2023

For all types of manufacturers, weakness in document control not only causes compliance issues; but it can be a major source of financial, safety and brand risk as well. Putting in place effective document control strategies should be a top  priority to ensure operational excellence.

This imperative was explored recently in an article in Machine Design, written by our VP, Product Marketing, David Isaacson. Manufacturers understand the importance of document control, and the problems that a lack of it can ensure, yet, many organizations still grapple with the shortcomings of unreliable paper trails and multiple versions of the same documents.

Standardizing processes and automating them can centralize all critical documentation enterprise-wide, trigger prompts when updates are needed and enable easier development and retrieval of documents.

The article sheds light on some of the most important document control best practices:

Establish Intelligent Business Rules for Document Control

Intelligent business rules eliminate inefficiencies and confusion in a process by ensuring conditional routing to key recipients depending on the specific business process. These rules also can include delegation rules to route documents to an assigned substitute when the primary contact isn’t available, or escalation rules to notify responsible parties when documents pending review aren’t reviewed on time.

Embrace Metadata

It enables you to customize and categorize your documents based on document type, and establish unique fields, categories, keywords and more. It allows you to focus on the strategic priorities that matter most.

Align Document Control with Training

When creating documents, you should be able to specify the type of training associated with the document, link new requirements to the employee training system, create and track post-training test results, and update employee records.

Prioritize Access Control and Data Security

Data and document security is fundamental to compliance and process excellence. Your system should ensure that only appropriate levels of personnel can access, approve, review and make necessary revisions to key documents.

A good example of effective automated document control in action, is with an ETQ client that is a leader in photographic and digital imaging solutions. Managing quality and compliance across five complex manufacturing facilities was previously challenging, which was compounded given the 200,000+ documents contained across the enterprise. It was difficult to quickly find and  retrieve important documents when they were needed.

Today, using ETQ Reliance, the industry leader has full text search capabilities enabling users to execute multiple criteria searches and create custom views of important documents sorted in many ways. This has saved time, resources and enabled better overall quality.

Automating document control has enabled many ETQ customers to realize more efficient industry compliance, better workflows, easier collaboration and information access.  It is the centerpiece to any quality program.

Looking for a better way to standardize document control in your organization?  Reach out to ETQ.